The World Travel Market, or otherwise known as the fondly abbreviated WTM, took place this week. Traders, tourism boards and travel bloggers all flocked to the Excel to talk all things travel. There was a speed networking event, on stand demonstrations and lots of fantastic talks during the three days.
This year was my first visit to WTM and it was brilliant. For a newbie like myself, as much as I had read up on the event, nothing truly prepares you for the madness and sheer size of the conference. I only attended for two days but got to see and do so much. So here’s a few of the things I got up to. Plus a few tips of my own!
Talks and Workshops
I attended five talks over the two days I was there. I didn’t have any meeting scheduled and wanted to focus on exploring the stands and attending as many as the talks as I could.
On the Monday I joined a talk about Instagram and travel, as well as attending a talk given by founder of G Adventures, Bruce Poon Tip. The company I work full time with actually work really closely with G Adventures, so it was great to hear about their initiatives to encourage more experience led travel, that also helps the wider communities too. By focusing on this type of travel he hopes to inspire people to become more passionate, derive more purpose and feel a lot more happiness when it comes to travel.
And Wednesday’s talks were hosted by the team at Traverse. There was a huge focus on the quality of content during the talk. It was great to hear this, because I have definitely felt over the last year, those with larger followings or higher DA scores are always looked on more favourably, over a smaller bloggers, who sometimes have a more engaged and active audience. The key take away from this talk was to keep producing content you love, that your audience also loves and trusts and you’ll begin to see the hard work paying off. And when it comes to working with brands, choose the ones you love and use regularly. Audiences will be able to tell the difference between content written about a product you love and a product you have only written about for other reasons.
The exhibitor stands are one of the best parts of WTM. You’ll find Tourist boards, entertainment companies and even hotels with stands. Some are modest sized, others are gigantic, brightly coloured and so eye catching that you’ll see it from across the hall. Not only will you get to witness the impressive displays, but you’ll also make great contacts.
There were hundreds, if not thousands of stalls at WTM. And although I spent a huge portion of my time wandering the halls I know I didn’t see all of them. Here you’ll find out more about certain brands, get to enter competitions and also have your meetings too.
There were a lot of spectacular stands. Some of my favourites includes Costa Rica, Brasil and Ireland.com. Palestine also pulled out all the stops this year and exhibited a Banksy piece, whilst also handing out two thousands free posters, causing a bit of a frenzy at the event.
You’ll also find whilst walking around that a lot of the stands, however big or small were running competitions over the course of the conference. Many were, as you can imagine, giving away experiences. From a holiday to the Maldives to weekend city breaks, there was a lot that you could get your hands on too. Plus if you’re feeling a little shy about approaching a stand, it’s a great icebreaker.
On Stand Events
There are a lot of on stand events during the three days of WTM. Some invite only, others completely free to everyone. On Monday I got to taste some delicious chocolate during the Taste of Pure Grenada event, as well as enjoying a refreshing cocktail during happy hour on the Brasil stand.
On Wednesday I attend the Taste of Valencia Region event. It was digital influencer wine tasting and was so much fun! I learned about Valencian wine, sampled five different wines and got to chat with some fellow travel bloggers too!
International Media Centre
If you’re attending the conference as a member of the media (travel bloggers that included you too!) you have access to the Media Centre. I didn’t realise until after I had paid to hang my coat in the visitors cloakroom, that you can actually do this for free at the centre. As well as this you can full up your water bottle (the Excel have surprisingly little water fountains), charge your phone and sit and get some work done. You even get a free tea or coffee on your visit. I spent some time chatting to fellow travel writers and podcasters, so it’s a great place to network and make contacts too!
I love a freebie. I’ve literally not bought a pen since I went to university. And you’ll find pens, notepads and memory sticks galore at WTM. Emirates were also offering attendees a free ride on the Cable Car, which is where I snapped this beautiful sunset shot as I was leaving the event Wednesday.
As well as these many practical items you’ll also get your hands on lots of interesting literature, a free book or two, snacks and even a rubber duck! But don’t feel bad about taking things, it’s there to be taken and to give you more information on the brand too.
I will absolutely be attending WTM again as I found it such a great place to learn about travel from like minded people in the industry. It’s a fantastic event and you’ll leave feeling inspired! Did you attend WTM this year? If so let me know how it went in the comments!
Until next time.